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Thread: What tool to use to crimp PB fitting? What color crimp rings do I use?

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    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Default What tool to use to crimp PB fitting? What color crimp rings do I use?

    I need to make a connection from Polybutylen (PB) to PEX (Wirsbo). I bought the "PB to PEX fitting" (wirsbro brand) but it doesn't come with the crimp ring for the PB side. Oh well, a trip to HD.

    I found the "PB to PEX fittings" at HD today. Not the same brand PEX I 'm using. Also HD's has a black crimp ring and a copper crimp ring but it doesn't say which ring is for the PB and which it for the PEX. I bought two fittings just to get the crimp rings. Now how do I crimp the rings?

    Next to the fitting they have a "pocket crimper" with "go, no-go" gauge. But it says on the package "for PEX", and the PEX they sell at HD is not Wirsbro.

    Will this crimper work on the PB crimp ring?

    Is the go, no-go guage meant for the PB ring or the PEX ring, or both?

    What kind of crimpers do the pros use? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    1 - The rings are the same, it does not matter which you use
    2 - The same tool crimps pex or poly
    3 - Uponor/Wirsbo recommends that you do not crimp their
    product and will not cover any warranty should it fail.
    4 - Uponor/Wirsbo uses an expansion tool.

  3. #3
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Thanks Peter.
    Just to be clear. I have the Wirsbo expander tool for the connection ot the PEX pipe. But the connection to the PB side of the fitting requires a crimp. That is my problem. I think you answered my question.

    ProPEX Brass to PB Coupling, 1/2" PEX x 1/2" PB (This pic is from the PexSupply website but it is not correct. The PB side has many rows of small ridges whereas the PEX side of the fitting looks like the picture below)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by CountryBumkin; 11-11-2009 at 03:57 AM. Reason: add more info

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking USE the ......SHARK BITE..... luke...

    dont fool around that way....

    all you got to do is put a shark bite coupling onto the PB junk and move on...

    that is the safest....best ...... way ,,

    we have gotten out of some god awful nasty things thanks to shark bite fittings...



    The gray end of the Sharbite if for PB

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    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark View Post
    dont fool around that way....

    all you got to do is put a shark bite coupling onto the PB junk and move on...

    that is the safest....best ...... way ,,

    we have gotten out of some god awful nasty things thanks to shark bite fittings...
    Good old snap click plumbing!!!

    John

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default crimp ring

    Here, the PB ring is black, but in your case, it is whichever color the manufacturer wants to make it. Look at the other fittings, or PEX rings to see what color they are. The PB ring will be the one that is different. You use the same crimp tool on the PB ring. ANd the same go/no go gauge.

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    DIY Senior Member miamicanes's Avatar
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    > all you got to do is put a shark bite coupling onto the PB junk and move on...

    I'm still undecided between crimping, Sharkbite, and Gatorbite for my own PEX-PB connection. The problem is that I read a fairly compelling argument somewhere that there's one potentially fatal flaw with using Sharkbite or Gatorbite with PB -- the outside diameter of PB is identical to the outside diameter of PEX, but the inside diameter of PB is a tiny bit larger. Sharkbite and Gatorbite rely on an internal plastic piece to add rigidity and seal the connection. That plastic piece is sized for slightly smaller-diameter PEX, so if you try using it with PB, the PB can eventually deform. In theory, it would probably be more of a slow dripping leak than a blowout, but a slow dripping leak will support a mold colony, and in the long run will be just as bad as a blowout (I know, because mold is the reason WHY I have to gut and rebuild my bathroom).

    On the other hand, I'm less than fully-confident in my ability to make a PEX/PB crimp that will last 25+ years without developing a slow leak as bad as I might have had with Sharkbite/Gatorbite anyway.

    I'm still tormented by this issue... and I'm going to have to face it once and for all at some point over the next 12-60 hours.

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    DIY Senior Member miamicanes's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I just had another thought. If the problem with using Sharkbite/Gatorbite fittings with old PB is due to PB having a slightly larger inside diameter than PEX, could the problem be mitigated by wrapping a few layers of thick thread tape around the Gatorbite plastic PEX insert so it would fit snugly with PB the way it fits snugly with PEX?

    Failing that, I'll probably just go with Sharkbite for the PEX-PB connection. I've read enough success stories involving Sharkbite and PB to feel reasonably confident that it'll be at least as reliable in the long term as I'd get from crimping (and stressing) the old PB to a fitting. Chances are, the removable Gatorbite (even without the thread tape kludge I thought of) is probably just as good as Sharkbite, possibly even better... but I just haven't really read *anything* -- good, bad, or otherwise -- about using them to join PEX and PB. Given that lack of info about Gatorbite PB outcomes, and the generally good Sharkbite PB outcomes, it would probably be reckless to NOT go with Sharkbite in this specific situation. That said, I've used Gatorbite for everything else, and it all seems to have worked quite smoothly (haven't turned the water back on yet, though, so the jury's still out until later tonight)...

    Still... I did come across one other intriguing possibility. Apparently, Watts(?) makes a plastic Sharkbite-like fitting that *is* explicitly certified for both PEX *and* PB... but I haven't been able to locate a part number yet. Anyone happen to know what the part numbers for the 1/2-1/2 and 3/4-3/4 plastic PB-PEX connectors from Watts might be?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Lowes used to carry the Watts push on fittings...haven't looked recently. I don't think the insert is as important on PB as it is on pex, which is much more flexible.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Default Pocket crimper worked - Go, No-Go guage doesn't

    Just to follow up on my OP. The Wirsbo PB tp PEX fitting worked. I used the black crimp ring from the HD fitting and the HD (CashAcme) Pocket Crimper. The Go, No-Go, guage that comes with the Pocket Crimper does not fit over the crimped "blcak" ring. I can see that the copper ring is thinner. I suspect the guage would work correctly with the copper crimp ring. BTW the guage is marked "for PEX".
    Bottom line, the fitting doesn't leak.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member miamicanes's Avatar
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    OK, time for another gut-wrenching decision. I have two pairs of tee fittings in front of me:

    * Sharkbite: everyone's favorite, but officially incompatible with PB

    * Vanguard 1/2" Tee, Push, LF14, distributed by "Apollo" PEX. Plastic, about a buck cheaper than the Sharkbite, and officially compatible with PB.

    One unknown (to me) -- whether the Vanguard fitting is single-use, or can be disconnected and reconnected if I need to slightly re-do something somewhere along the line. This wouldn't necessarily negate a clear and overwhelming victory for the Vanguard fitting if everyone truly thinks it's a better choice, but would definitely bump me towards the Sharkbite fitting if it can't be disconnected.

    Jury?

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    In the Trades dwindle's Avatar
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    I've seen sharks fail over time in at least two occasions.
    Something seems to corrode the metal teeth.

    Professionally I never use them.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The "crimp" tool squeezes the outside of the ring to the standard size, so I cannot see how the go/no go gauge would NOT fit it, if the tool is adjusted properly.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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